Scott Walker’s second term agenda offers more of the same failed, divisive policies of the past three and half years that have lead Wisconsin to dead last in the Midwest in private sector job creation and a massive state budget shortfall. So voters should ask themselves — what comes next?
If past is prologue, Wisconsin families should be concerned about what a second term would look like for our public education system. Perhaps nowhere in Scott Walker’s first budget was the pain felt more deeply than in his steep funding cuts to our public schools. In 2012, Wisconsin led the nation in cuts to education spending per-pupil — a 6.2 percent decline.
Governor Walker cut $800 million in direct state spending on public education and mandated new limits on local school districts that left schools scrambling just to fund their operations for the next school year. At least 26 school districts this past spring had ballot measures begging residents to approve increases in property taxes above state-set limits just to keep their school’s regular operations running.
Meanwhile, unaccountable voucher schools got a staggering influx of taxpayer funds — an increase of approximately$124 million, or $973.50 per-pupil. Voucher schools lack the same accountability as public schools and are able to operate under relaxed guidelines, to include allowing unlicensed teachers in classrooms and refusing to accept students with special needs.
Walker’s budget also gives a tax break to anyone — no matter how wealthy they are — who sends their kids to private schools.
“Wisconsin’s economic recovery continues to lag under Scott Walker and we are once again dead last in the Midwest in private sector job creation — a repeat of Walker’s historic cuts to public education isn’t the way to turn our state around,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. “Wisconsin deserves a governor who cares about our children and will invest in the promise they bring to move our state forward. We simply cannot afford four more years of Governor Walker and his failed polices.”